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Chocolate Stout Cake

By Barrington Brewery, Great Barrington, MA

2 cups stout (such as Guinness)
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter
1 ½ cups unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
4 cups all purpose flour
4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons salt
4 large eggs
1 1/3 cups sour cream
2 cups whipping cream
1 pound bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped

For cake:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter three 8-inch round cake pans with 2-inch-high sides, or a 9 x 13 inch rectangular cake pan plus a 9 x 9 inch pan.  If using round cake pans, line with parchment paper and butter paper.

Bring 2 cups stout and 2 cups butter to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.
Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt in large bowl to blend.

In another large bowl, using electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream to blend. Add stout-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat just to combine. Add flour mixture and beat briefly on slow speed. Using rubber spatula, fold batter until completely combined. Divide batter equally among prepared pans, or pour into the 9 x 13 pan and 9 x 9 pan, about half way.  Bake cakes until tester inserted into center of cakes comes out clean, about 35 minutes for round cake pans and 9 x 9 and 40 - 45 minutes for rectangular pan. Transfer cakes to rack; cool 10 minutes. Turn cakes out onto rack and cool completely (only if using round cake pans).

For icing:
Bring cream to simmer in heavy medium saucepan.
Remove from heat. Add chopped chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth
. Refrigerate until icing is spreadable, stirring frequently, about 2 hours.
If using round cake pans, place 1 cake layer on plate.  Spread 2/3 cup icing over. Top with second cake layer. Spread 2/3 cup icing over. Top with third cake layer. Spread remaining icing over top and sides of cake. If using 9 x 13 inch cake pan, spread frosting over cake in pan.
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